Based on the songs of its titular pop legend and her inner circle, Beautiful earned seven Tony nominations in 2014 and won a pair, including one for lead actress Jessie Mueller. The musical will close having played 2,418 regular performances and 60 previews. It’s the Main Stem’s second-longest-running bio-musical and the longest-running and highest-grossing show in the Stephen Sondheim Theatre’s history.
The production recouped its $13 million capitalization within nine months, but even it wasn’t immune to a generally tough summer for Broadway. In recent weeks, Beautiful has been grossing at about half, or just above half, of its $994,804 weekly potential. Although the summer has been harder on newer shows — with recent or recently announced closings including King Kong, The Cher Show, Pretty Woman, The Prom, Be More Chill, Hillary and Clinton, King Lear, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune – popular long-runners like Beautiful and Waitress haven’t gone unscathed.
Directed by Marc Bruni from a book by Douglas McGrath and with choreography by Josh Prince, Beautiful follows the tapestry of King’s rise to stardom — from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin to her relationship with fellow writers and rivals/best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann to becoming a hugely successful solo act. Read Deadline’s original Broadway review here.
The show spotlights songs written by King, Goffin, Mann and Weil — from such early hits as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Up on the Roof” and “The Locomotion” through mid-’60s classics “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” through King’s smash Tapestry album with “So Far Away,” “You’ve Got a Friend” and “It’s Too Late.”
Beautiful spawned a national tour that’s in its fifth year — including a run at Pantages in Hollywood last year — and productions in the UK, Japan and Australia. Its cast album won the Grammy in 2015, the same year producers Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Paul Blake announced a film adaptation of the show for Sony Pictures in 2016.
Greg Evans and Patrick Hipes contributed to this report.